Saturday, July 30, 2011
Eagles add Cullen Jenkins to defensive line
By Dan Graziano
Okay, this is starting to feel a little bit like a joke now.
Two days after adding Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Babin and one day after signing top free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the Philadelphia Eagles have added yet another coveted piece to their rapidly improving defense, announcing a five-year contract for free-agent defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Adam Schefter reports via Twitter that the deal is worth $25 million.
Jenkins had been connected in pre-free-agency speculation to a couple of NFC East teams, the Redskins and the Cowboys. He was pursued by many teams because of his versatility -- he's played in 4-3 schemes as well as 3-4 schemes during his time in Green Bay. The Eagles' official release announcing the deal describes Jenkins as a defensive tackle, which might offer some idea of how they plan to use him. But he's been an end in multiple schemes and is likely to rotate his pass-rushing skills around to multiple line positions under first-year Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn. He will provide a lethal interior rush to complement the outside rush they hope to get from Babin and Trent Cole.
Folks, there's really no other way to put this. The Eagles have gone from suspect to loaded on defense in the span of three days. Could they use some help at linebacker yet? Sure. The idea of rookie Casey Matthews as the starting middle linebacker amid all of this veteran excellence is justifiable cause for concern. But there are still players out there they could get for that role, and it's become very clear that Michael Vick's Eagles are a team for which people want to play. Whoever they end up with at that spot will be playing behind a stacked defensive line and in front of a secondary overflowing with talent. Juan Castillo, the former offensive line coach in his first year as defensive coordinator in Philadelphia, is set up in a pretty good position from which to succeed. Sean McDermott, who was fired after two seasons in that job, has to be wondering where this came from all of a sudden.